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Victoria Twead

Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

From Spain to Bahrain - Two Old Fools and Ramadan

Posted by: Jamie on Wednesday January 04, 2012 (09:07:40)   (1879 Reads)

Victoria Twead

Was it really less than three weeks ago that Joe and I sat in our kitchen in Spain, wondering what our new life in Bahrain held in store?

We’d agreed to exchange our idyllic, if sometimes crazy, life in a tiny Spanish mountain village - for a year teaching in Bahrain. We were replacing mountains with deserts. Crisp, clean air for city pollution and sandstorms. Exchanging the hourly chimes of our village church bells for mosques and Muslim calls to prayer. What would life be like in Bahrain? What were we letting ourselves in for?

Joe and I arrived in Bahrain at 2.00 am, tired and anxious. We’d almost been refused visas in Madrid, planes were delayed and connections missed. The heat hit us like a punch in the face. However, although exhausted, our eyes drank in the scenes flashing past as our taxi sped us to our apartment. We gaped at the modern skyscrapers of Manama, bright city lights, minarets and domed mosques, Arabs wearing headdresses and white robes. Andalucía already seemed a long way away.    more ...


Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

Tales from a Spanish Village - Two Old Fools on a Camel

Posted by: Jamie on Wednesday January 04, 2012 (09:00:31)   (968 Reads)

Victoria Twead

Ironic isn’t it? Our grapes will be ready in a couple of weeks, but we won’t be eating them. They’ve never looked better; plump, blushing purple, huge heavy bunches ripening in the Spanish sun. And we’ll never taste them.

They are building a new council building in the village which should be ready in time for the Fiesta. But we won’t attend the opening celebration. And we won’t be dancing at the Fiesta.

I’m busy writing the sequel to ‘Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools’. It will be called ‘Two Old Fools - Olé’ but I won’t finish it here in Spain, in our village.

Isn’t it astonishing how one click of the mouse can change your life forever?    more ...


Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

Tales from a Spanish Village - An Old Fool's Birthday

Posted by: Jamie on Wednesday January 04, 2012 (08:57:52)   (871 Reads)

Victoria Twead

‘I’m in heaven!’ Joe crowed. ‘Do you realise that on my birthday, it’s the British Grand Prix, Moto GP...AND...the World Cup final? Wall-to-wall sport! Now, if you were to serve me tapas in the nude, it would be the best birthday ever!’

I snorted. As if! I was busy scraping away at two scratch-cards that Carrefour had given us on our last shopping trip.

‘Joe? Have a look at this! I think this means that if Spain win the World Cup, we win 130 euros!’

It was Joe’s turn to snort. ‘Huh! There’ll be a catch to it. Read the small print.’

I put the scratch-card away; Spain had to win the final before we could even think about claiming the prize.    more ...


Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

Tales from a Spanish Village - Two Old Fools and Melons

Posted by: Jamie on Wednesday January 04, 2012 (08:52:08)   (840 Reads)

Victoria Twead

Temperatures in the village are soaring, so, like the Spanish, Joe and I rarely venture outside in the middle of the day. However, last weekend I needed a letter posted, so I sent Joe to the postbox in the square.

A few minutes later he returned, letter in one hand, a bulging plastic carrier bag in the other. He looked hot and bothered.

‘You’re back already?’ I said, surprised. ‘What’s in the bag, and why didn’t you post the letter?’

‘Paco saw me pass by and gave me all these melons,’ Joe explained. ‘They’re so heavy I thought I’d bring them home first, then go out again to post the letter.’ He mopped his forehead and again ventured out into the hot street.    more ...


Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

Tales from a Spanish Village - Two Old Fools and Telefonica

Posted by: Jamie on Wednesday January 04, 2012 (08:47:40)   (843 Reads)

Victoria Twead

Joe and I stared at the computer screen in disbelief. They’d done it again! Telefonica had seen fit to help themselves to the funds in our bank account for the THIRD time.

It first happened last year, in August, I think. I was routinely checking the balance in our account and couldn’t believe that our telephone bill had leaped from the usual 90 euros to 880 euros. So we dialled Telefonica, asked for the English speaking Helpdesk and lodged our complaint.

“There’s obviously been a mistake,” said Joe.

“No mistake,” said Telefonica. “You changed your Plan. You used to have the 24/7 Internet Plan, and you changed it. Now you are being charged by the minute every time you go online.”

“But we haven’t changed anything! We didn’t change our Plan!”    more ...


Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

Tales from a Spanish Village - Cowboys in the Desert

Posted by: Jamie on Wednesday January 04, 2012 (08:45:10)   (950 Reads)

Victoria Twead

It’s been a long winter and excessive rain has resulted in the village being even quieter than usual. Our mountains have been shrouded in mist and we’ve stayed indoors. Recently, however, we’ve had a few days of sunshine, just in time for some old friends from England who came to stay for a visit.

When they arrived, they looked a little shell-shocked. They’d read ‘Chickens’ but I don’t think they’d grasped quite how small, isolated and purely Spanish our village is.

“It’s beautiful,” said Andy. “But perhaps a little, er, third-world?”

“No shops?” Anna asked. “What happens if you need to see a doctor?”

We explained that delivery vans come daily with bread, fish and local produce, and that the doctor comes once a week and holds a surgery in one of the villager’s living rooms. She looked dubious.    more ...


Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

Tales from a Spanish Village - Killer Caterpillars

Posted by: Jamie on Wednesday January 04, 2012 (08:42:27)   (1158 Reads)

Victoria Twead

Joe and I are seriously considering building an ark. The rain, which started well before Christmas, is still coming down like stair-rods. The Spanish news speaks of little else and shows us images of flooded towns, collapsed bridges and roads blocked by mudslides and rock falls. Apparently, this is the wettest winter on record.

To get into our village, residents have to zig-zag and slalom past mounds of rocks and mud. The council is doing its best, but as fast as they clear the road, more mud-slides occur. Geronimo, who is a sort of village policeman, battles valiantly with the daily damage, but his efforts are in vain. As fast as he shovels mud aside, more slides down. Water oozes out of every crevice on the hillside, eating away at the mountain. You can’t fight nature, so we’ve given up fretting about our leaky roof; we just keep pots and buckets on standby, ready to catch the drips.    more ...


Columnists > Victoria Twead

Victoria Twead

Tales from a Spanish Village - Churchbells, Choking...and Far Too Much H20!

Posted by: Jamie on Wednesday January 04, 2012 (08:37:14)   (914 Reads)

Victoria Twead

Our village is so tiny that there are only a handful of permanent residents. Uncle Felix, a retired goatherd who shares his cottage with his beloved mule and two chickens. Ancient Marcia who runs a shop selling sweets, beer and cigarettes and very little else. Geronimo, a gentle, football-mad kind of village policeman who enjoys his beer perhaps a little too much. And us.

Well, New Year's Eve was interesting. The village was filled with people enjoying the holiday and getting away from their city lives. The Spanish have this tradition where you are expected to swallow one grape every time the clock strikes at the midnight hour. Each chime, and grape eaten, will bring luck in the coming twelve months of the year. So Joe and I walked down to the church at midnight as usual, clutching our twelve (seedless) grapes.    more ...